Thanksgiving Break

Another vacation come and gone! Oh, how time flies when you’re having fun!

My time was well spent, though and I crossed every single item off my vacation wish list!

Continue reading “Thanksgiving Break”

Busy Baking

Hi there!  Just checking in as I’ve been away a while.   

After losing my sweet little Lulu Bear last month,  I haven’t had the heart to do much of anything lately.  On top of that, work is crazy busy right now, leaving little energy for evenings or weekends — I need to recharge!

I did, however, manage to bake some more bread.  It’s getting cooler outside now that fall has arrived, so I don’t feel quite so bad about running my oven! Continue reading “Busy Baking”

Heaven at Home

RIP Lulu Bear (Lily)

(well, her name was “Lily”, but her personality was “Lulu Bear”, so that became her nickname).

It’s been a sad, sad month around here. My poor little Lulu Bear took her final rest on 12-October.

After suffering a terrible weekend that week where she could barely recover from her coughing long enough to catch her breath, and after many months of bravely struggling with her congestive heart failure, it had been getting harder and harder on her lately.

The potty accidents were occurring all day long, every day for weeks. She did nothing but sleep and eat. Sort of.

While she did still have a pretty good appetite, it wasn’t what it used to be, and often she would turn her nose up at previously loved treats.

She had been sick for over a year with this disease, was on so many pills, and had recently really taken a turn for the worst. Her urine had started to smell smoky (a sign of kidney failure). She was getting more and more listless. She was having increased “pass-out” spells. Just lots of things going on leading to a very poor prognosis for her.

Her poor belly was so swollen because the heart function was getting so poor that the blood had nowhere to go but into her gut area (at least that is what I understand the problem to be). It could be just the terrible edema that heart disease can cause. Either way, the poor girl could hardly walk anymore because of the weakness and the extra weight of that belly. You can see it in this picture, on one of her long naps that week.

She has always had panic attacks riding in the car, and our regular vet is about 45 minutes away. With her recent passing out from lack of oxygen as soon as she got the least bit of excited about ANYTHING, we weren’t sure she could survive that sad trip for her final rest.   We really didn’t want her last memories to be of the terror of the car ride and being at the vet office (which she never really cared for in the first place).

While calling around to vets that were closer to us, we were so relieved when one of them told us about a local service called Heaven at Home. Apparently our town has a team of licensed vets who make house calls for hospice care!!!! Who would have thought!

Our regular vet did not tell us about this service. We had to call a few local vets first to see if any of them made house calls. That is the only reason we found out about it. Had we known about the pet hospice part of their business sooner, we would have been doing that all along as well, as she hasn’t been well enough for months to go into see her regular vet.  They do not replace your vet. They work in conjunction with them to be their “eyes and ears”. Kind of like tele-medicine, but with a personal visit rather than a phone/video call.

When we made the heartbreaking decision to give Lulu Bear some rest, Heaven at Home came to our house and gave her the most peaceful final moments, surrounded by her family in a familiar and comfortable environment for her. They even took her away and sent her to a very professional pet crematorium that provided her cremation. A week later we have Lulu back to us in a tin of ashes.

They were kind, compassionate, comforting, patient, and a huge relief for us and for Lulu Bear.  Before they left our house, they gave us very nice little case that had her paw print imprint it, and a place to put her photo. They even sent us a condolence card in the mail afterward.

I hope the word gets out about this wonderful service.  Many people would find it as comforting as we did.   I know with our Ruby dog, when it comes time to get her hospice and then final care, we will be using this service again. Hopefully the business will still exist (because I hope that is still far in the future).

While this particular business is local to where I live, please check with a few of your local vets. There may be something similar around if you need such services. There may be one similar in your area. It’s such a wonderful service that they provide to give you and your pet peace and comfort when they need it the most!

Unplanned Weekend

I wasn’t going to do anything spectacular this weekend. I had nothing planned at all — really, I didn’t!


On Friday when I fed my sourdough starter (I call him Barbossa), he was so bubbly and feisty, that I had to do something with him. I have never seen him so active before, so you know I had to try something. 🙂

So I tried a new Grissini recipe, since that is something that can be made in a single day.

I won’t say much today about this, but they turned out “all right”. They’re not as tasty as the last recipe I used, but they’re still perfectly pretty, bready, and will do the job just fine!

It’s not that they are “bad”, but I decided for some reason to not put as much Tuscan spices in this batch, In retrospect, I should have added the full amount. They turned out a little bit bland compared to the last ones.

As you can see, my camera is not cooperating under the purely fluorescent lights. They flicker and cause the focus to be a bit blurry. They wash out areas of the photo and the color is tinted slightly yellow. BUT, it was about 11 PM so I had no choice. Fake light or no light.

Anyhow, they look tasty…made my house smell like a bakery, and now we have some more breadsticks to last about another few weeks. They also gave me something to do on a Saturday evening. So it’s a win all the way around!

Speaking of “around”….My waistline is not happy about all this bread though, so I am going to have to cut WAY back for a while. (boo hoo). Still, grissini is just a very small amount of bread, so it’s a good way to enjoy a little without eating too much!

Kitchen Misadventures

I finished out my weekend today, as I often do, spending a large amount of time in the kitchen — cooking. Seems Sundays are always filled with cooking adventures lately. Sometimes there are misadventures too. Today was one of those days!

Continue reading “Kitchen Misadventures”

Vacation At Home

It’s been a whirlwind of a vacation week for me. Although I didn’t do the things I normally do on vacation (which often involves making soap, lotion, bath bombs, or knitting), I did do a whole bunch of making!

It started out with the need for some new Covid masks. I bought some cute fabrics, mostly from FatQuarterShop, and they arrived just before vacation!

I used a pattern I found on YouTube as it looked easy enough, and I wanted the little “hawk nose” thing that it had going on. It’s supposed to keep your glasses from fogging, while providing some coverage at the nose area.

I had to make quite a few of them until I got the length of the ear elastic just right for us, but eventually I got it down. Then I made a few more so that we each had a couple new masks to wear.

I made them just like the above linked pattern with a couple of differences.

I put a third layer of fabric (chiffon) on the inside. Chiffon is supposed to have electrostatic properties, which further helps to filter or trap the Covid virus.

I put a dart on both sides at the cheeks and about 1 inch from each side under the bottom center in the chin area. In my opinion, this form-fits the mask better to your face (at least it does to our faces).

For a couple of the masks, when I had enough fabric left over, I even made little matching drawstring bags for carrying them.

Then I ran out of things to do, so I put the sewing away and started baking.

Actually I baked quite a few things this week, but a couple were so-so efforts. The good news with sourdough bread though, is that even if it doesn’t look the prettiest, it still tastes great!

I tried a couple recipes from King Arthur Flour’s site, but their recipes never turn out for me. Their sourdough waffles did not come out well at all for me. That night we ended up scrapping the whole batch and making our waffles from a box mix.

I am happy with how my bolillo rolls turned out. We had these last night with our Swiss mushroom burgers. Delish!

I followed this recipe from A Knead to Bake, pretty much exactly as written.

Then today I baked some multigrain sourdough sandwich bread. I followed this recipe from A Feast for the Eyes, but make a few changes. I added some sourdough starter, for one. I also added some bulgur wheat, flax seeds and caraway. I topped one with poppy seeds and the other with sesame seeds.

Only afterward to find out that my hubby doesn’t like caraway. He says it tastes like black licorice (which he hates). I would have never thought that, but oh well, more bread for me!

From a previous bake, I had some frozen pizza dough, so I took that out of the freezer today, defrosted it, and proofed it in my instant pot on the yogurt setting, and tonight we had artisan sourdough pizza.

It’s not the most appetizing photo of it, but it was yummy all the same!

Looks like WordPress has taken away the ability to use the classic editor, and I have NO CLUE how to use this new one! Hope this post comes out looking semi readable!

It sure was a nice week! The weather was really wonderful for vacation (in the 60 degree range with lots of clouds and rain). Normally this time of year it’s still sunny and in the 80’s, but I really don’t like the warm weather, so I was thrilled to have a week that was cooler. It gave me the opportunity to bake without worrying about overheating the house, and I got to open a few windows and get some fresh air in here — FINALLY!

But unfortunately, tomorrow is going to come REAL early, and I have a big meeting first thing in the morning, to officially kick off my return to work.

On the brighter side, it’s only about 8 more weeks until my next vacation! LOL 🙂

Tuscan Herbed Parmesan Sourdough Discard Grissini

While doing my Sunday chores this week, I decided to try a new recipe — Sourdough Grissini.

Grissini are traditionally thin, crunchy breadsticks.  They are very popular in the “Italian Food” category.  When you snap them in half they make a snapping sound (they are crispy on the outside). Thin is a subjective term though.  I have seen these VERY thin (about the size of a drinking straw) to “not very thin” (about the size of carrot).   Mine are the larger size since I cut the strips wider. Continue reading “Tuscan Herbed Parmesan Sourdough Discard Grissini”

Mindful Malas Book Launch

I am excited to announce today that my most recent project has come to fruition! I have published my 8th e-book over the weekend!

It is called “Mindful Malas – Projects and instructions for making gorgeous, personalized mala jewelry”. Continue reading “Mindful Malas Book Launch”

I Did a Thing! Hooray!

Hi all!  Just popping in to say hello!  Life has been slow lately, waiting for the situation “out there” to improve, so not much has been going on.  That is why I’m excited to share a couple things I have been working on lately!

Continue reading “I Did a Thing! Hooray!”